Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Monday, January 17, 2005

Southeast Asian Games in Subic

THE CENTERPIECE event of athletics is not moving out of Manila's decades-battered Rizal Memorial Track and Field Stadium after all, but boxing and some medal-rich sports will be held elsewhere as the Philippine Olympic Committee on Monday announced the venues for the 2005 Southeast Asian Games.

In essence, venues for the 23rd biennial Games will be spread out. Subic in Zambales, Bacolod and Cebu have been tapped to host at least two sports each.

Security and accessibility concerns, however, ruled out sites in Mindanao, particularly Tubod, Lanao del Norte, North Cotabato and General Santos City.

The battlegrounds were announced by the Philippine Southeast Asian Games Organizing Committee (Philsoc), which expectedly left out the venue for the opening and closing ceremonies.

"More or less, this is the final arrangement," said Red Dumuk, triathlon association secretary general and chair of Philsoc's venues management and operations. "The venues are in top condition and hassle-free."

Dumuk said that as well as athletics, the 70-year-old Rizal Memorial Sports Complex--the hub of the 1981 and 1991 SEAG-will be the venue of the swimming competitions, gymnastics (Ninoy Aquino Stadium), sepak takraw and arnis (Rizal Coliseum) and baseball (Rizal Memorial Ballpark).

Dumuk said SEAG Federation members were worried about the peace and order situation in Mindanao, forcing the Philsoc to skip the region despite strong lobbying by local government leaders.

Bacolod will stage football, weightlifting, and possibly boxing, although Cebu is also trying to stage the latter.

Cebu got some events in cycling, dancesports and, tentatively, chess and billiards. Baguio, however, is also trying to host the chess events, while billiards officials are inclined to hold competitions in Metro Manila.

Sailing, triathlon, and the cycling road race will be held in Subic.

Tennis, in case it makes the final roster of events, will also be held in Subic, according to Dumuk.

Fencing and wushu will be played at the GSIS Hall in Pasay City, taekwondo at the Folk Arts Theater, basketball at the Philsports, and rowing, canoeing and traditional boat races at the La Mesa Dam in Quezon City.

Other venues tapped are Merville, ParaƱaque (petanque), Fort Bonifacio (shooting), Cavite, (Southwoods for archery, Carmona for equestrian and Riviera for golf), Cuneta Astrodome (karatedo), Rosario, Pasig (softball) and Makati Coliseum (table tennis).

The venue issue earlier spurred controversies between the POC on one hand and the Philippine Sports Commission and the City of Manila on the other, which complained of the Olympic body's belated announcement of the sites


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